National Semi Announces Developments For SolarMagic Technology For PV Systems

May 26, 2009 by Jeff Shepard

National Semiconductor Corp. and Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd. have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to evaluate National Semiconductor’s SolarMagic™ technology with the intention of jointly promoting the technology and developing future solutions. National’s SolarMagic power optimizers use distributed electronics throughout a solar installation to recoup energy lost due to real-world conditions such as shade, debris and panel mismatch.

"We are proud to be working with Suntech, the world’s leading manufacturer of crystalline silicon photovoltaic modules, a company that shares our vision for what it will take to increase the adoption of solar," said Michael Polacek, Senior VP of Key Market Segments and Business Development, National Semiconductor. "Our strength in analog and power management lends itself well to solar, enabling us to apply unique innovation to the solar market."

National developed SolarMagic technology to improve the energy harvest of solar arrays. Because of the characteristics of solar modules, real-world conditions – caused by shading from trees, chimneys or power lines; debris such as leaves or dirt, and panel aging – can lead to disproportionate power losses. Solar Magic compensates for these circumstances, creating a more consistent energy supply to the home or business owner.

The SolarMagic power optimizers give back PV system owners much of the power they currently lose to real-world conditions including partial shade, panel aging, and irregular array designs. Field-testing has shown SolarMagic recoups up to 57% of power losses.

For installers, SolarMagic technology provides additional benefits: greater flexibility in PV array design; improved reliability of the entire PV system; high-value retrofit option for existing installed base; and more potential business (solar-suitable site growth of up to 25%).

National Semi also announced that it is shipping its SolarMagic power optimizers to customers in Europe and North America.

SolarMagic power optimizers are currently available to customers through distributors and installers in Europe and North America with an MSRP of US$199 per unit.